Fierce

This Is How This Mexican Mom From Oaxaca Is Running Successful Mole And Michelada Businesses

Christina Henderson

Bricia Lopez is am an entrepreneur who is helping her family’s business thrive. It was in the early 1990’s that Bricia, then only 10 years old, moved with her family from Oaxaca, Mexico to Los Angeles. Her father, Fernando, had a dream and a goal of providing Oaxacan Angelenos a taste of home with his restaurant Guelaguetza. Now housed in the first Korean-styled building in Koreatown (according to Bricia), Guelaguetza is still thriving under the management of Fernando’s children including Bricia. They handle the day-to-day operations of Guelaguetza as well as their own Oaxacan-inspired online businesses Mole And More, I Love Micheladas, Super Mamas Podcast, and their very own online store I Love Mole. Bricia sat down with mitú to talk about what it means to be in charge of a restaurant catering to regional food and becoming a boss-level woman in the hyper competitive food industry.

Tucked away in Los Angeles’ Koreatown, you’ll find Guelaguetza, an authentic Oaxacan-themed restaurant that has been thriving for more than 20 years.

Christina Henderson
CREDIT: Christina Henderson

“People from Oaxaca have a very specific relationship to food where food is your life. Everything surrounds food. Family, celebration, death, everything has to do with food,” Mexican-born restauranteur Bricia Lopez told mitú. “

[Guelaguetza] is our home and we serve the food that we grew up with. It’s not fancy food. It’s not fusion food. It’s not new Californian food. It’s not new Mexican food. It’s not innovative. It’s just traditional food that I grew up eating, just very high quality. So, that’s how the menu of the restaurant was inspired. Just foods that we grew up eating off the road [in Oaxaca]. Everything you find here at the restaurant is what you can find in Oaxaca.”

The restaurant has been passed down from founder and father Fernando Lopez to his children. Bricia said that the transfer of power left her with a stunning message from her father about the benefits of being a woman and a boss.

Christina Henderson
CREDIT: Christina Henderson

Bricia admitted to mitú that when she first took charge of the restaurant, she was often looked as the “daughter of” Fernando. She longed to be seen as the boss and she asked her father for help getting that respect since he is the one who started the restaurant. His response? He told her she would have to work for it.

“He told me, ‘I wish I was a woman because you guys have so much power,'” Bricia recalled to mitú.

Christina Henderson
CREDIT: Christina Henderson

Bricia continued: “He said, ‘You guys are so much smarter than us. You guys just have so much more ability and can also be so nurturing. You need to understand that what you have is very powerful. As a woman you are ahead of every man that you meet. So you need to understand that it’s a plus. You need to learn how to navigate your womanhood and take advantage of it and earn people’s trust. I can’t give you that.’”

Bricia also learned that it was important to treat employees as family, which she says comes naturally to her.

Christina Henderson
CREDIT: Christina Henderson

To Bricia, taking charge of the restaurant meant embracing all the employees as her family because all of them are working to a common goal: the success of Guelaguetza.

Bricia shared that very early on, she learned that success to her is all about being purpose-driven.

Christina Henderson
CREDIT: Christina Henderson

“Understand why you are doing everything that you do. When you are purpose-driven, it is not about the to-do list,” Bricia told mitú. “It is about achieving a bigger thing that can get ten things out of the way. It’s about deciding if this thing that you are doing is taking you a step into your purpose or away from it and if it is taking me away from it, then why am I bothering with it.”

Bricia argues that it is not enough to just set a to-do list and just do them because you think they need to be done. What has helped her succeed is making sure that everything she has been doing had the result of taking her closer to her purpose and goal.

This purpose-driven, just do it attitude has translated into the Lopez children launching a handful of online businesses that were born out of Guelaguetza.

Christina Henderson
CREDIT: Christina Henderson

Guelaguetza and the Lopez siblings are helping to bring Oaxacan flavors and culture to people across the country from mole to micheladas to Oaxacan clothing (in the Koreatown restaurant). Bricia told mitú that it was a no-brainer to sell their products online to fans and Oaxacan expatriates living in the U.S.

“We just did it,” Bricia told mitú about launching their online store.

Christina Henderson
CREDIT: Christina Henderson

“We Googled everything and found out how to do things,” Bricia told mitú. “I feel like so many times people make things more complicated than they should be. Like, it’s not that complicated. People were asking us for the micheladas. We’ve been serving the micheladas since we opened. People would come in and ask if they could buy the mix from us so we would fill up empty tequila bottles and sell them and they would come back every weekend. By then, we had opened our online store where we shipped our mole so we started thinking about what else we could sell in our store.” That’s when I Love Micheladas was born.

As a mother, Bricia understands that sometimes things can get pretty hectic, but that should never stop you from achieving your dreams.

Christina Henderson
CREDIT: Christina Henderson

“I think for mothers, the number one thing is to understand that it’s okay to ask for help,” Bricia advises for any mother looking to start or grow their own business. “Latinas, especially moms, feel like because their moms raised four kids as immigrants with nothing and they cooked every day. I honestly don’t know how they did it. We feel like we have to do the same thing, we can’t complain, we can’t have these issues, and we can’t feel pain or ask for help because we have to be able to do everything by ourselves, which is not true. We need to remember that our moms who were able to do all that have a community around them of primas, of support.”

“You need to understand that you need to take care of yourself first and then you can take care of everyone else,” Bricia said of being a mom and a businesswoman.

Christina Henderson
CREDIT: Christina Henderson

“You just need to find whatever makes you happy and do whatever make you feel a little selfish and look to take care of yourself because when you’re happy, your family will be happy,” Bricia continued about being a mom and entrepreneur. “A lot of moms don’t do that. Latina moms don’t take care of themselves. It’s like, first is my baby, then it’s my husband, then are my friends, then it’s my business, then there’s this, and at the bottom of all of this, is me. What kind of mother are you going to be if you put yourself last? What kind of wife are you going to be if you make yourself last? What kind of friend are you going to be if you put yourself last?”


READ: This Latina Wasn’t Going To Become Another Starving Artist So She Built An Empire Using Social Media

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Here Are The Latino Sodas You Need To Try Based On Your Zodiac Sign

Entertainment

Here Are The Latino Sodas You Need To Try Based On Your Zodiac Sign

nataliedrawn / topochicousa / Instagram

While the rest of society is tapping into how nature is a significant signaler to our emotional and spiritual needs, Latinos grew up finding meaning in every change in the wind, and every dream. We’re superstitious AF, but we’re also highly in tune with nature.

We’re also chugging soda and eating Goya beans from a can because it’s 2019 and we have full-time jobs and three other gigs to get to. Whatever you have on your plate today, these zodiac-aligned sodas are destined to be more effective for you, hijo de las estrellas.

Aries (March 21 – April 19)

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Honey, the arrangement of the stars this summer is signaling you to stay off the ‘gram. Get away from social media and get out of your head. There’s nothing like a sweet, tropical Jupiña to take with you to the beach or mountains.

Taurus (April 20 – May 20)

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Taurus’s are often misunderstood as lazy, but the fact is that you are more in touch with your self and your needs than any other sign. You’re free from the shame of indulging as an act of self-love. So when you have a Malta, you definitely add condensed milk to it to maximize the effects of every self-treat. Plus, it reminds you of drinking Malta as a niño and feeling like you could kick your feet up with the beer-drinking adults.

Gemini (May 21 – June 20)

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You’re represented by celestial twins–signifying a range of meanings, primarily to represent your many interests. The story goes that the goddess had so many passions, she doubled herself to get it all done. Cuba’s Iron Beer hasn’t decided whether it’s root beer or cream soda, and that’s because, like you, it can be both. 

Cancer (June 21 – July 22)

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This summer, your space is yours. Whether you’re staying home to reflect and refuel your tank or burning up that gasolina on the dance floor, Jarritos stay with you. Nourishing both your home realm and your social side will be important for you. Pro tip: spiked Jarritos is even better.

Leo (July 23 – August 22)

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Leo, your allure could be spotted from a mile away. Inca Kola’s neon yellow bubble gum flavors will make you glow in the dark. Don’t play like that doesn’t sound like your dream.

Virgo (August 23 – September 22)

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The energies of the lunar eclipse in Capricorn is still inspiring productivity like never before in you, hermit. Topo Chico is not a soda, per se, but it is a bubbly drink that you can enjoy anytime. Whether you’re drinking it straight from the bottle at your desk or adding your favorite fruits, Topo Chico is the only bubbly you need to keep you in the zone.

Libra (September 23 – October 22)

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Ooh, Libra, your summer is set to look very physically (read: so much sex) active. You always have many people vying for your attention, but as you work on building trust with your chosen partner, you’re going to need to hydrate. Materva is brewed with mate leaves, giving you a bit of caffeine (alongside 40 grams of sugar, but who’s counting) to fuel your love life.

Scorpio (October 23 – November 21)

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Like Mexican Coke, you, scorpion, have a cult following. But this month isn’t about what other people think of you. No matter the expectations of you, it’s time to turn inward and go back to old wounds that cause all the classic drama in your life. Don’t worry, when you let it go, you’ll still be a classic inside and out.

Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21)

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Travels are in your future, Sagittarius. There’s nothing more germane to its country of origin than Colombiana soda. Its bubble gum scented cream soda flavors will always remind you of the importance of honoring the place you visit.

Capricorn (December 22 – January 19)

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Fellow sea goats–it has been un mes tan pesado. No te preocupes–instead of trying to find out where you fit, it’s time to realize you belong everywhere in this world. You’re not just a Mundet, you’re an elusive green apple cider. Embrace your individuality. It will set you free.

Aquarius (January 20 – February 18)

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You, Aquarius, are in a humanitarian activist mode. With Puerto Rico’s police force firing tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters, PR’s favorite soda, Kola Champagne, will be fuel for your fire.

Pisces (February 19 – March 20)

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Our favorite water-lovers can take their game to the next level this summer with Coco Rico. This soda is here for you when you want to drink out of a coconut on the beach, but with more sugar and carbonation. It’s next-level water, básicamente.

READ: The Brief And Surprising History Of Tex-Mex Food That You’ve Never Heard

To Celebrate Guelaguetza, Here Are Some Mesmerizing Diego Huerta Photos Of Oaxaca’s Indigenous Peoples

Culture

To Celebrate Guelaguetza, Here Are Some Mesmerizing Diego Huerta Photos Of Oaxaca’s Indigenous Peoples

Courtesy of Diego Huerta Studios

Diego Huerta is an Austin-based photographer on a mission to photograph all of the indigenous populations throughout Mexico. His photos are giving people an intimate and sincere look at the lives of the people who have long called Mexico their home. July is a special time in Oaxaca for the indigenous community. The month marks Guelaguetza, a month-long celebration in Oaxaca City, Oaxaca highlighting the indigenous people and their contributions to Mexican culture. In honor of Guelaguetza, here are photos by Huerta taken in Oaxaca showing the vibrant and mesmerizing indigenous community.

Photographer Diego Huerta is capturing the wonder and majesty of Mexico’s indigenous communities.

Courtesy of Diego Huerta Studio

Huerta wants to give people a true sense of what indigenous communities look like. There is something about seeing the communities people talk about instead of just reading about them.

“Nowadays the information that we have about the native peoples in Mexico is only numbers and statistics,” Huerta told mitú. “There’s no photographic documentation of each of the towns, we don’t know where they are, we don’t know how they live, we don’t know how they look.”

Huerta earns the trust of the communities and gets intimate photos that show the beauty within these communities.

Courtesy of Diego Huerta Studios

Huerta doesn’t just walk into these spaces with his camera snapping. The photographer makes his presence and intentions known to earn their trust and the chance to document their existence.

“Whenever I come to an indigenous village, the first thing I do is talk to people, be interested in knowing how they live, be simply a human talking with another human,” Huerta says. “Then I tell them what I do and I ask them to be able to portray them, which in most cases they say yes.”

Huerta has spent years documenting Oaxaca and absorbing the culture in the southern Mexican state.

Courtesy of Diego Huerta Studios

“I have spent six years traveling through Oaxaca, and every year people knew my work more, which made things easier for me because it was the same people who invited me to their villages to portray them,” Huerta says.

As someone who has experienced the incredible celebration of Guelaguetza, Huerta has one thing to say.

Courtesy of Diego Huerta Studios

Guelaguetza is more than a celebration tied to a specific time of year.

“To live the Guelaguetza is to start living,” Huerta proclaims.” There are so many emotions to see the eight regions of the State of Oaxaca gathered in the same place that you don’t need to be Mexican to get excited, it’s simply a wonderful and unique world that’s lived there.”

It is crucial to document and capture images of the indigenous communities for several reasons.

Courtesy of Diego Huerta Studios

Huerta believes that there is value in capturing proof of the indigenous communities to preserve our own history. These are the people who lived on these lands first and are therefore the basis for the people now inhabiting the land.

He wants to make sure that everyone who sees his images understands the greatness of human beings.

Courtesy of Diego Huerta Studios

Huerta explains that getting people to see the greatness of human beings is the main objective of his indigenous photo series. By understanding the greatness of people and the indigenous communities, Huerta says that will lead to us understanding ourselves.

Huerta’s work within Mexico’s indigenous communities has endeared him to the very people he set out to document.

Courtesy of Diego Huerta Studios

“On my last trip to the State of Sonora with the Yaqui people, I felt that I was already part of them,” Huerta recalls. “It was difficult to be accepted but after three years they saw me as someone they trusted and that made me feel very special.”

READ: Diego Huerta Is Capturing The Most Amazing Photos Of Indigenous Mexicans

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